by Iain Twiddy

On evenings when the mist came ghasting in,
rolling the hedgerows and sea-grey furrows,
and the path was arrowheads at the edge
of the field, the road a slow wash of sound,

it was easy to see, somewhere out there,
murk waves spraying the shore at Elsinore,
where Laertes stood, upright as a mast,
with the wind in the shoulder of his sail.

It was easy to feel then, leaving school,
how the real could never measure up
to lines like Use one voice, Write what you know,
Head for the solid ground of sense, not sound —

impossible to follow, those stern words,
drifting home, where, like the hawthorn barely
nipping the mist, being true to yourself
surely meant everything else would be false.

Published on December 5, 2019